CLEVELAND — In recent years, the focus on law enforcement and how they perform their roles has been under the microscope, and now proper police training is all the more critical.
Last week, law enforcement officers from Liberty County departments embarked at the Cleveland Civic Center for a specialized self-defense training course.
“What we teach them is self-defense and defensive tactics. How to protect against attacks, whether it’s punches, pushes and how to use multiple officers to control a combative subject to take them to the ground, control them and basically handcuff them,” the instructor said. of the Robert Mendiola course.
Mendiola is a retired San Jose Police Department sergeant with 30 years of law enforcement experience and now serves as an instructor at the Koga Institute.
Their mission is to educate and train law enforcement officers with the tools necessary to perform their jobs safely and in the humane manner that is expected of them, especially by today’s measures. .
“It’s the Koga method. It’s based on Aikido and jiu-jitsu martial arts,” he said.
Mendiola believes the training is necessary because it elevates law enforcement’s abilities to perform their job to a higher level.
“Officers tend to use whatever tools they have, but they don’t have any practical skills to be able to control the subject once they use the tools used such as a Taser,” he said.
Mendiola believes these training techniques enhance officer and suspect safety when used appropriately. “Our primary concern is not just the safety of the officer, but the safety of the subject we are dealing with. As you know, punching and kicking have no real place in police work. We resort to these things because we don’t have other skills,” he said.
The training program was funded by the LCSO and the district attorney’s offices.
“I am extremely grateful to have a sheriff who is willing to work with my office to help ensure that Liberty County law enforcement is safer and better prepared for the perils that await them on the job,” said District Attorney Jennifer Bergman.
The course was an intensive week-long program and included practical training, a lecture on the Koga method, as well as written and physical performance tests on the last day. Students who successfully completed the course received a certificate allowing them to teach the Koga method.
“Both agencies have worked for months to coordinate and run this Defensive Tactics Instructor Course here in Liberty County and look forward to participants being able to teach the skills they have learned to our local personnel responsible for law enforcement,” Bergman said.
Liberty County Constable Pct. 6 Zack Harkness participated in the training and felt the training was essential for local law enforcement to better perform their duties.
“I think it’s important for the people of Liberty County to know that their law enforcement personnel are in training, and the DA and SO are working together to make that happen,” Harkness said.